What just happened? Iron Man-style suits have been the stuff of many Marvel fans’ dreams, and it looks like we’re edging closer to a real-life version. It may lack Jarvis and any weapons, but Jetman Dubai’s jetpack and pilot have set a new altitude record of 6,000 feet.
A recent video shows Vince Reffet take off from the runway of Skydive Dubai last Friday, marking the first time one of the pilots has taken off from the ground instead of an elevated platform, such as a helicopter.
In his carbon-fiber suit, Reffet traveled at an average speed of 150 mph, reaching 100 meters in eight seconds, “in 12 seconds 200m, 19 seconds 500m, and reached 1,000m in 30 seconds.” He eventually hit 1,800 meters, or just under 6,000 feet, at which point he performed a roll and a loop. The pilot opened his parachute at 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and landed back at Skydive Dubai.
“It is the first time that a Jetman Dubai pilot could combine hovering safely at a limited altitude and flying aerobatics at high altitude in the same flight,” the company wrote. “Controlled from the ground by the human body, the equipment enables Jetman Dubai to reach speeds of 400kmh, as well as hovering, changing direction and performing loops.”
Breaking the altitude record required at least 50 preparatory flights by Reffet, who also practiced more than 100 take-offs and landings under a cable and with the safety of a fall arresting system.
The wingsuit is powered by four mini jet engines and uses a manually controlled thrust vectoring nozzle that allows pilots "to control rotations around the yaw axis at zero speeds."
"We are so happy we achieved this incredible flight," Reffet said. "It's the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results. Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved."